Play On Conference Makes High Energy Debut

  1. Updates

More than 250 adults 4-squared, switched, ro-sham-boed and shimmy clapped their way through two plus days of nonstop interactive learning, play and information as Playworks introduced its first ever Play On conference in San Francisco this spring. Play On was designed for individuals and organizations involved in advocating for or providing play and physical activity programs in their communities. The conference brought together some of the country’s leading experts on play and its benefits to discuss how to promote, fund and implement programs that bring play to youth. “This was hands-down by far the most active and comprehensive conference on play imaginable,” said one attendee. “The level of engagement, play and interactivity along with the impressive caliber of speakers with relevant topics was absolutely stunning. I walked away from this prepared and inspired to go back to my kids and community and immediately implement what I learned and play it forward.”Play On opened with a special session featuring speakers from influential health-driven foundations including Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The California Endowment and Kaiser Permanente, the Arthur Blank Foundation discussing why play, and why now? The talk was followed by a discussion with Dr. Stuart Brown, one of the world’s top experts on play behavior. Kevin Carroll acclaimed author of Rules of the Red Rubber BallJessica Mendoza, two-time Olympic medalist and member of the U.S. women's softball team and David Bornstein, social innovation writer and author of How to Change the World were also among the featured speakers. San Francisco 49er COO Andy Dollich joined former Oakland Raider Morris Bradshaw, now a senior executive working with corporate sponsorships and business development with the Raiders, as well as All Stars Helping Kids’ Executive Director and new Playworks Board Member Marlon Evans, on a sports philanthropy panel. Playworks founder Jill Vialet, rounded out the conference speakers with a talk on “Radicalizing Play.”In addition, attendees selected from nearly three dozen breakout sessions addressing play programming, advocacy, policy, funding and other issues key to supporting play and physical activity in their community. Sessions ranged from recess design to disability rights to involving girls in team sports and others.  

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